This doctor's shocking behavior is a reminder that mental health stigma must end now.

Samuel Bardwell had a bad anxiety attack, so his father took him to the emergency room.

Samuel was playing basketball when he noticed the signs of an impending attack. He had been prescribed an as-needed anti-anxiety medication, but he didn't have any on-hand.

And as his symptoms got worse — vomiting, loss of consciousness — it was clear he needed medical intervention.


Samuel was seeking medical help for a diagnosed condition, but the emergency room physician humiliated him.

According to Samuel's father, Donald Bardwell, when the physician walked in, she didn't introduce herself, ask what was wrong, or perform an examination — instead, she immediately began ranting about Bardwell's condition and his reasons for being there. All the while, Samuel begged her for medication.

At one point, the Bardwells say, the physician's rhetoric became racist: Donald and Samuel are black and the doctor — now identified as Beth Keegstra of El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos, California — accused them of seeking drugs. That's when the elder Bardwell began filming.

It got worse, with Keegstra swearing at Samuel, then twisting his words to claim he'd asked for "narcotics," when all he'd done was ask for something — anything — that could help him feel better.

"You [Samuel] are the least sick of all the people who are here, who are dying. So you put your head up," Keegstra can be heard saying in the video. "Don't try to tell me you can't move. Come on. Sit up."

Anxiety attacks can be incredibly scary — and reaching out for help often isn't easy.

If you've never had an anxiety attack, here's what you need to know: They can be terrifying and are almost impossible to control. One second, you can feel your heart start pumping a little faster, and the next, you're struggling to breathe and feeling you'll soon perish of a heart attack or an embolism you never knew you had.

These attacks aren't dangerous in themselves (in fact, they can't actually kill you), but in the moment, when it feels like both your mind and your body are conspiring against you, it's hard to even tell what's real anymore.

As someone who's experienced many anxiety attacks — and has been to the emergency room several times fearing legitimate heart attacks — I can tell you that there's nothing you need more than a physician who's understanding.

Keegstra was suspended after the Bardwells posted the video of her berating them, but that's only a temporary measure. If there's one thing this video makes clear, it's how difficult it can be to get help for mental illness. And that's why so many people hide it.

Those who live with mental illness already know that friends and family can be slow to understand what it's like to experience anxiety and depression. But a physician treating a patient in crisis like this is a painful reminder of why it's so hard to reach out for help.

After all, if someone whose job it is is to take care of you thinks you're faking, what's the point of speaking out?

Samuel's experience with this doctor is a reminder there's still a long way to go in mental health care.

At a time when mental illness is becoming less of a taboo topic, it's on all of us to be more kind, more compassionate, and more understanding — and to fight against stigma.

And once you watch the full video below, I think you'll agree: We need to do better.

This is how they treat black people in Los Gatos emergency room. SMH Everyone share this video. For the record this is my son.

Posted by Donald Bardwell on Tuesday, June 12, 2018
More
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular